Friday, November 30, 2018

NOT BOTTLED UP: Embattled Interior Secretary Zinke Goes "Full Trump" On Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) is set to become the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee next year. After publishing a column in the USA Today calling on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to resign, the embattled Secretary went "Full Trump" on the Arizona Representative.

Questioning Rep. Grijalva's alcohol intake and payments made to a former committee employee who had made hostile workplace claims, Zinke took to the President's favorite forum for slinging insults. (In order to free himself from Twitter's character limits*, he fashioned his rant as a public statement from the "Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke".)

To be clear, although Grijalva's call for Zinke to resign focused on the Secretary's scandals and ethics, he did not call Zinke names. He did make the case that Zinke lacks "credible leadership" and warned that scrutiny of the Department will intensify in January when Democrats become the majority party.

Zinke's impolitic and nasty tweet also slurs what little is known about the severance package that became public knowledge last year. The unsourced report claims that the Committee employee was prepared to file a lawsuit that alleged that Grijalva "was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment." There is no specific allegation that any drunkenness was in the workplace, and the Congressman has publicly and flatly denied ever being impaired or drinking while on the job. He also said that he does not have a drinking problem.

The former employee was paid $48,000 as part of an agreement authorized by the House Employment Counsel in 2015, and no complaints or lawsuits were filed. Grijalva states that the ex-employee would not release him from the confidentiality clause to speak further.

*A strange (non-sexual) double entendre if ever there was one.

(Edited to remove reference to the hashtag used by Zinke.)

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